Develop the landscape you want by following these eight strategies for the perfect design plan.
The traditional view of landscape design is a detailed drawing specifying the location of each shrub and flower bed. In truth, each time you bring home a plant from the nursery you are engaging in the design process, either intentionally or unintentionally.Judging from the results I see, there are an awful lot of unintentional designers out there. Many landscapes look like a collection of randomly chosen and haphazardly placed plants. Not only do they lack cohesion, but even worse, the poorly placed plants become liabilities, requiring expensive pest treatments, frequent pruning or complete removal long before they have fulfilled their natural life spans.
Although an overall plan is a valuable tool, there’s nothing wrong with designing on the fly. Experienced gardeners do it all the time, usually with great delight. Whichever method you choose, here are a few tips for creating a landscape that stands out from the crowd and minimizes future headaches.
Plan for Equipment Access
“It’s important to anticipate future access,” advises Liz Dean of New Leaf Landscaping in Durham, N.C., “whether it be mowers or stump grinders, or future building projects such as a porch or patio.” At some point in the life of your home, you will be faced with a project or repair that requires some loud, monstrous machine to get into your backyard. Plan for it in advance, or be faced with having to tear out some of your precious plantings.
Start With (and Maintain) the Focal Points
Stated simply, a focal point is something that “makes you look,” says Dr. Pat Lindsey, a landscape design professor at North Carolina State University. At its best, however, “it directs you visually and makes you feel surprised, moved or engaged, moving you through the garden experience.”
Although we typically think of using a specimen tree or statue as a focal point, there are many other possibilities. Lindsey says the key is to find something that is “slightly to very different from the rest of your landscape in form, texture or color.” It could be an architectural feature of your house or even a borrowed view.
The trick is to make them stand out, yet not stick out. It should be somehow connected to the rest of the landscape, either through a repeated shape or color, or a connection to the overall style of the landscape. Scale is also important. If your landscape is several acres with broad vistas, then perhaps an ancient oak would play the role quite well. In a small urban lot, an ornate garden bench or small statue might be the perfect size.
Leave Formal Landscapes to the Rich and Famous
A formal landscape is one of the most challenging to create, and the upkeep can be arduous. “Symmetry is very difficult to maintain,” notes Dean. If, for example, you have two identical evergreens at the corners of the house and one dies, it could be very difficult to find a matching replacement. “Sometimes,” she continues, “the only choice is to replace both, which adds to the expense.” One of the most common dilemmas is the hedgerow or foundation planting where one or two shrubs have succumbed to a plague. Be wary of putting all your eggs in one basket.
Keep Curves in Check
Incorporating curves will add interest to your garden, but don’t overdo it. A collection of amoeba-shaped beds would be overkill, as would a curvy path that takes you far out of the way of your destination. Long, subtle curves are often best.
Lindsey also advises gardeners to “limit the geometries so that one dominates.” If you incorporate curved lines in beds and walkways, for example, repeat those shapes in the third dimension with the shape of the plants you choose and the way you arrange them.
A landscape without movement is like a painting. Paintings are fine for hanging on a wall, but a garden needs movement to add life and interest. No garden is complete without some ornamental grasses to sway in the breeze. Add flowers to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and several berry producers for the birds.
Accent Your House
Unless your house is an architectural masterpiece, it could benefit from some thoughtful plantings to soften the edges and help it blend with the surroundings. But take care not to end up at the other extreme, a house that is hidden by overgrown shrubbery. Even the smallest starter home usually has some interesting architectural feature. The best design will highlight that feature.
Take Nothing for Granted
When you live in a place for a while, you tend to accept existing features as obstacles, sometimes without completely noticing them. Rather than designing around the overgrown shrubbery, established trees, or worn-out deck, consider removing them. You may discover new possibilities, such as a sunny spot for a vegetable garden or rose bed.
Right Plant, Right Spot
On the outside chance that someone reading this has not heard the old adage “right plant, right spot,” I urge you to adopt it as your personal gardening mantra. The phrase should be repeated constantly during each visit to the nursery. In addition to knowing the full-grown size, Liz Dean cautions us to consider growth rate as well. Since they get large more quickly, fast-growing plants may seem like a bargain. In the end, however, time and money spent on pruning and other maintenance may outweigh the initial savings.
Dean also observes that “proper spacing allows air circulation to prevent fungal and insect problems.” But won’t the finished landscape look sparse? Easy, she counters, simply “fill in with annuals.”
Finally, keep in mind that you needn’t have a five-figure budget to achieve an exceptional landscape. Whether your landscape venture is a two-month multiphase project, or a Saturday trip to the nursery, the key is to select your plants purposefully and place them thoughtfully. The result is sure to bring you years of enjoyment.
Paul McKenzie is a horticulture extension agent in Durham, N.C., and has managed the Durham County Master Gardener Volunteer Program.
Sources say the houseplants of 1970s are a trend with new creative twists. This is known as interior plantscaping and covers everything from indoor containers to green walls to interior courtyards.
Another trend homeowners are said to be interested in is simplifying their yards. Instead of having complicated hard to keep up yards, minimalism is coming into the yard as well as the house!
Year of the Tulip
2018 is the Year of the Tulip, the plant just screams spring! Whatever color you enjoy trending tulips are a lovely way to brighten up your yard!
Safe havens for wildlife
Speaking of wildlife, another landscaping feature customers are said to be attracted to is creating pollinator gardens and spaces that provide habitats for local fauna.
Inviting the bees, butterfly’s, and birds are a great way to help your garden pollinate and help bring back the essential bugs (as long as they stay outside)
As mentioned earlier, the smaller gardens are not necessarily a trend for homeowners, but as the landscapers deal with them more and more often, they welcome it.
The key element to designing in smaller gardens is to keep the customer’s wants in mind and be very deliberate about how the space will be used.
Dog-centric landscape design
Dogscaping may seem like a trend only the most eccentric owners would be interested in, but there has been an uptick in people wanting their landscape catered towards their pets.
More fire features
A gas or log burning fire feature is always a big trend when it comes to landscaping. They’re good conversation starters and good for entertaining! Portable or built in it makes a great centerpiece for your yard!
If you’re looking to update your landscape, we are here to help! Give us a call!
Are you one of those people who just can’t manage to keep a plant alive? Or would you like to combine technology with innovation to keep an eye on your plants?
Software engineer Peter Honeder struggled with the problem of keeping his plants alive, so he decided, along with Stefan Oberpeilsteiner, to create a smart sensor that could inform the users of the plant’s needs.
Thus helloplant was born.
Helloplant measures all you need to ensure your plant’s optimum health:
This smart sensor is able to measure soil moisture, light intensity, ambient and soil temperature. Using Bluetooth to connect to the user’s phone, the sensor can send notifications to their smartphone whenever their plant needs something, without them having open the app.
Helloplant can be used indoor or outdoor for all plant varieties!
Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, helloplant setup is straightforward: place the helloplant sensor in a planter, take a picture of the plant and name it in the app. Then add some basic information from the plant’s tag. After that, it is ready to go and will alert the user if the plant needs anything.
The tool itself doesn’t need internet access to work, but the option is there:
Helloplant doesn’t need internet and there is an optional remote hub, which allows the user to access the sensor’s data if they are traveling and can also connect to Amazon’s Alexa.
The technology helloplant uses includes, an ambient light sensor, a capacitive soil moisture sensor and two temperature sensors, one for soil and one for air.
Currently helloplant is on Kickstarter with a starting price of $22. The campaign has a pledged goal of $35,704, but has collected a little over $50,000 right now.
According to Honeder’s timeline, they will start shipping the helloplant sensors in March 2018.
Check out the video below to learn more about this tool for serial plant killers and plant lovers alike.
You can enjoy the benefits of a simple sustainable garden landscape, whether you start from scratch or add environmentally-friendly materials and plants to an existing space. Sustainable and green landscaping ideas can be incorporated into residential and commercial properties and enhance the local ecology. Working with a landscape designer makes it easy to incorporate sustainable elements into a garden and add beauty and reduce maintenance of an area, large or small. Consider these top earth-friendly ideas as you plan your sustainable garden or landscaping space for gathering, dining and relaxation.
1. ADD SALVAGED FINDS FOR A SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE GARDEN
Get stylish and earth friendly and bring new life to discarded items. You can up-cycle many materials. Consider a new life for a kitchen objects, a discarded metal wok can be easily transformed into a wood-burning fire bowl. Add a steel or stone base and you are ready to enjoy the outdoors even when there is a nip in the air. Rather than tearing down an old weather-beaten structure, adding new wiring and insulated windows can turn rescued sheds into a private getaway. Talking about wiring, if you are lucky enough to come across copper pipes, you can use them to create a foundation for a living roof of hardy vines to shade dining and lounge areas.
2. INCORPORATE LOW WATER PLANTS FOR A SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE GARDEN
For those looking for to add a touch of green but not have to worry about constant watering, low water plants make an excellent choice for sustainable plantings. Consider native and organic plants to add to your garden. Work with your landscape designer or local nursery to create a list of grasses, shrubs and flowers indigenous to the area. Choose plants and combinations that grow well in local soil and attract beneficial bacteria and insects. Examples such as the Potted Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Saligna Aurea’) and Honey bush (Mylianthus major) can handle arid climates and require little water. Such plants can provide a green backdrop or add privacy to a cozy nook.
3. UTILIZE STONES AND ROCKS FOR A SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE GARDEN
Pavers and stones are frequently removed during renovations. This is one haul to take advantage of and use in paths and borders, as well as drainage areas. Collections of local pebbles allow water to drain directly into the ground rather than form into run-off. This works well in dining spaces, allowing them to be comfortable used, even after a recent rain. Natural stones and rocks can be used to enhance water flow, create low maintenance walkways and protect garden beds.
4. TRY SOLAR LIGHTS
Solar lights are an earth-friendly solution for the need for additional lighting. Add them to walkways, fences, patio spaces and more for a long-lasting lighting option without the need for additional consumption of electricity.
5. ASSISTANCE WITH SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE GARDEN AND LANDSCAPING IDEAS
Gardening ideas including salvaged finds, solar lights, rocks and stones and low water plants can add interest to a space as well as make a garden more sustainable. Recycling often cuts down on cost and maintenance, making it easier for homeowners and property owners to enjoy a space with little stress.
Consider working with a landscape designer to assist in the creation of your dream sustainable landscape. New Life Landscapes helps with homeowners and property owners throughout the landscape design process to add sustainable elements to garden and landscaping ideas. Contact New Life Landscapes to discuss your landscaping design needs with a friendly and experienced associate today.
We here at New Life Landscapes know it’s hard to maintain a good lawn in the are where we live! The high desert has a lot of challenges, including water, soil, and hardiness of plant life. We also know a yard full of grass may be out of reach for some who don’t have the resources. But fear not! We can help! Here are a few ways you can have a beautiful yard without the maintenance of a lawn!
1. We can help you create a lawn look-alike with astro-turf. All the pretty green appeal, with little maintenance.
2. Instead of a whole yard with grass, think of a small enclosed portion that you can dedicate to a nice maintainable lawn. We can help you build it!
Landscaping without lawns is easier than you might think when you exercise a little creating and opt for texture and shape rather than abundance of greenery. By playing with other elements in landscape design, you can live in the high desert and still have a captivating landscape too.
3. Succulents are easy to care for and very pretty!
Succulents are beautiful additions to a high desert garden. They not only look lush and abundant agains against a desert landscape, but they are easy to maintain, retain water very well, and many can go weeks without watering. They come in an array of shapes, colors and sizes that will liven up all the areas around your home.
4. Drought-Resistant Grasses
Ornamental grasses add depth, texture and height to a flat landscape, while also adding plenty of color. Many sturdy grasses are available that can tolerate the variable climate of the high desert without burning wilting or dying off. Some are even more resistant to wildfires than others. Check your local nursery for the best grasses for your area.
Whether its river rock, pea gravel, pavers, eroded granite, gravel can add beauty and contrasting or complementing color to your landscaping. Gravel helps drain and divert water to your feature plants, while keeping the weeds down, too.
If you’re looking for a landscape company to help you with your yard, give New Life Landscaping a call today!
One of the most dreaded chores for the average homeowner is having to pull up weeds in the garden.
Franklin Robotics and the inventor of the Roomba, Joe Jones, have introduced an outdoor version of the famed robotic vacuum, which is designed to trundle around in the garden and prevent weeds from being established.
The Tertill (pronounced like turtle) is a 2.5-pound robot that is solar powered and uses a spinning string trimmer to cut off weeds near the ground. Using a sensor, it can determine what plants it has brushed against and if they are tall or short. Following the basic metric that weeds are short and plants are tall, it cuts the weeds every day until they lose their energy and die.
For growing plants that are still short like a weed, users are provided protective metal collars that will cause the Tertill to move away. The robot does need at least a two-inch barrier around the garden space to prevent it from wondering away. It is designed to monitor around 100 square feet, which Franklin Robotics deemed the standard size of an American garden.
“Tertill is a small robot that lives in a vegetable or flower garden, and every day it will charge itself up in the sunlight. When the battery gets full, it wanders around the garden, avoids plants and obstacles and takes care of the weeding,” Rory MacKean, Franklin Robotics CEO told Digital Trends. “By addressing one of the more frustrating aspects of gardening, we see Tertill as a way of encouraging people to start a garden, or to continue to enjoy the activity.”
The Tertill features diagonal wheels that help make it stable on slopes and able to navigate soft soil, sand and mulch well.
Currently the Tertill is on Kickstarter and those interested in this mini weed remover can pre-order one for $225. Shipping is currently expected to take place in March 2018, but first Franklin Robotics has to reach its goal of $120,000 by July 12 for the project to be funded.
To make your yard all together easier to maintain consider using New Life Landscape!
Landscape water features can add tranquility and serenity to your outdoor living space. But with so many different outdoor water features to choose from, how do you know which one (or which ones) are right for your home?
Consider the Size and Style of Your Outdoor Space –
There are a lot of different types of water features to choose from, but not all of them will complement your outdoor living space. The size of your outdoor space is a big factor, since water features that are too small will get lost and those that are too big can overwhelm your backyard. The style of your landscape design is another important consideration, since the style of your outdoor space (or the intended style) will largely determine the look of the water feature you select.
Decide Between a Complementary Piece or a Focal Point –
Once you narrow down the best types of water features for your yard, you’ll need to decide how best to incorporate them to achieve the desired look. Smaller water features make great accent pieces, and can help draw attention to a larger focal point. Water features themselves can also act as focal points, especially when paired with proper outdoor lighting and custom landscaping or hardscaping.
Consult with a Professional –
Although you can do lots of research on your own, nothing’s easier than consulting directly with New Life Landscaping in Prescott, AZ. Landscaping professionals will not only provide you with valuable information about the different types of water features to choose from—including some you might not have found on your own—but they can make recommendations that will enhance the overall look and feel of your outdoor living space.
Many gardeners neglect or give up on their roses in the summer, seeing the quality of the bloom decline as temperatures increase. Maybe they think roses only bloom in the spring. Rose blossoms do tend to be smaller in the summer and the colors are not quite as vivid because the summer heat forces the blooms to open before blossom size and color pigment have completely developed. But, given the proper care, combined with a few simple pruning techniques, roses will re-bloom every six weeks until the first frost.
There are two ways to prune roses during the growing season and both will encourage new blooms to set.
Most roses have leaflets (with three to seven leaves) every couple of inches along the stems. In order to produce blooms you need to prune at least to the second five leafed leaflet. (Pruning just above will eliminate nasty dead stems called coat hangers.)
If you also want to prune for size control, you can go as far down as two leaflets above the previous cut. Pruning beyond the previous cut tells the rose you don’t want it to bloom. Remember that hybrid tea and grandiflora rose stems tend to grow at least 18 inches after each pruning before blooming; so, if you prune only the minimum amount you will have a very tall (and possibly leggy) rose by the end of the summer.
Because roses are constantly growing, they are in constant need of food.
It’s important to feed roses every 6 to 8 weeks with a quality rose food.
Continue feeding to September and you will have quality rose blooms into the late fall. So, don’t give up on your roses. With a little help, they will provide loads of blooms for you all season long.
Growing in the high desert can be an incredible challenge, but you can be successful at it! If you follow a few simple methods to help combat the hot, dry, and windy conditions that are the norm in the southwest, you can be almost guaranteed a bountiful harvest.
1. Find the Right Seeds – Seeds that have been grown in the high desert are going to be your best bet in the garden. There are countless heirloom varieties that have been protected by the companies that make it their life’s work to preserve the history of our fruits and vegetables. Find them at your local nursery, Farmer’s Market or order them online.
2. Nurture the Soil – The soil in the high desert is full of sand, gravel, and clay and must be amended. Amend your soil with organic matter, such as compost from your own pile or from your local nursery, knowing this is the foundation of a successful garden. Amending, to some extent, will need to be done annually, and starting with your first planting.
3. Commit to Lots of Water – The high desert has a unique, incredibly arid climate which not only affects plants at their roots, but also affects the plants ability to draw water in through their leaves. Given this, it is essential that, when watering, you optimize the amount of water they receive. The easiest ways to do this is through drip irrigation and heavily mulching your beds.
Drip irrigation is a series of small hoses that allow water to literally drip slowly into the ground around the base of the plant and down into the root zone. The set up involves a network of tubing, pipes, valves, and emitters. Depending on how extensive your garden beds are, setting up your drip irrigation could take a few hours, but the end result is more than worth the effort put in at the beginning. Setting up drip irrigation will not only offer you peace of mind, knowing that your plants are getting the water they need, but it will also save you hours each week since you won’t have to water everything by hand!
Water catchment, in the form of rain barrels, can be a life saver (if it is legal in your state). Allowing the rain water to be diverted from your roof and into large barrels or cisterns on your property can help offset your water costs (or alleviate some of the stress on your well) when used to spot water plants that require a bit more water than others. Alternatively, you can set up your rain barrels with hoses and a gravity feed or a timer to water your plants, but that’s another post entirely.
4. Mulch It! – Whether used in the form of straw, pulled weeds (before they go to seed) or the bags you can purchase from your local nursery, mulch pulls triple duty by
Keeping weeds down
Protecting the soil surface and the base of your plants form the elements
Holding moisture in the soil
5. Watch that Sun – The sun in the high desert can literally fry your vegetable plants due to the high altitude and the intense UV rays. In order to avoid burning our plants, I’ve found that the following two strategies work best:
Companion Plant – Companion planting is usually thought of in relation to safeguarding against harmful pests, but it can also be utilized to shade lower growing plants beneath the taller, hardier plants. For example, you could grow kale or chard beneath a pole bean tee-pee.
Shade Cloth – Shade cloth is a wonderful and fairly inexpensive way to protect your tender veggies form the sun’s rays and baking heat. I’ve found that Summer and Winter Squash benefit greatly from a bit of shade at the hottest time of day! You can achieve this by simply inserting PVC pipes in your beds as you would when creating a hoop house or low tunnel and then securing your shade only over the very top of the PVC pipes using small clamps so your plants get some sun, just not the hottest sun of the day.
6. And the wind… The wind in the high desert can take a vegetable plant and lay it out flat in the course of just a few seconds! In order to protect your plants (and all of your hard work), creative windbreaks are essential.
Ideally, walls and/or; fencing can be constructed to protect your garden area. However, if that is unrealistic, straw bales can be placed around your garden area to protect your plants. Whether you surround the whole area, or simply create a wind break protecting your plants from the direction the winds usually travel in, every bit of protection is better than none!
Most of us love avocados right? I know several people who would love to grow avocados, but have given up because they live in the desert. Well I am here today to give you hope, it is possible to grow an avocado tree in the desert!
First you need the right tree. Avocado tree are not one and the same, there are different species that grow better in certain climates. The Aravaipa Avocado can withstand temps as high as 120 degrees and as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The avocado fruit tastes like a Hass avocado. This will help you grow an avocado tree in the desert.
Next, you need the right location. You MUST have morning sun and afternoon shade to survive. The quickest way to let your tree die is to plant it in full sun here in the desert.
The right soil mix for your growing zone. Here in Prescott our growing zone is 7. Generally the soil is a bit rocky or sandy and doesn’t have much nitrogen. So mix your soil accordingly.
Maintenance is key, especially with nutrients in the soil, so make sure your tree has the right nutrients throughout the year by adding bone or blood meal for nitrogen, and whatever else your soil may be lacking.
Good luck and gardening!
New Life Landscaping can help you get set up for your own Living Landscape!